SXSW 2009: Tuesday recap

Things don’t kick off until today but it’s always nice to get into Austin the night before the mayhem begins and get re-acquianted with the city. Last night Duffy, Niall and I grabbed dinner at the Jackalope this amazing punk rock bar with even more amazing food (pretty limited to burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches). After reading the Wired blog article, I was tempted to try the Tijuana Hot Dog but instead opted for the Frito Pie Burger (chili, cheese, red onions) and it was probably the best thing I’ll eat all week.

Jackalope dinner

There was plenty of live music going on but not a ton that I wanted to see. We walked by Beerland where Micah from Two Cow Garage was hanging out talking to friends before their performance. Seeing Two Cow Garage the night before SXSW kicks off has been a tradition every year for us but last night everybody had their own plans so I passed too winding up, instead, at the Red-Eyed Fly next door to see Lions.

I wasn’t terribly impressed with the other bands on the bill that I saw (and therefore won’t name them here) but stuck around because I knew the payoff would ultimately be worth it. I caught these guys (with Ohio roots), fronted by Matt Drenik, maybe a year ago in Columbus and really dig their Soundgarden/Rage Against the Machine/Local H aggro-rock style. I’ve said it before (and didn’t mean it as insult so I hope it’s not taken that way) but Lions to me sound like the opposite of Audioslave – instead of Soundgarden’s singer fronting Rage Against the Machine, Lions sound like Rage Against the Machine’s singer fronting Soundgarden.

Lions @ Red-Eyed Fly

After the show I got to meet Aunt Bonnie, Matt ‘s mom. Bonnie is my daughter Abbey’s best friend’s mother’s aunt (wow – figure that one out, will ya!).

Aunt Bonnie 

Lions have a few more appearances at SXSW this week so if you’re around and want to hear some great heavier sounding stuff, try to catch them here:

  • Wednesday, March 18 @ The Scoot-Inn (11pm)
  • Friday, March 20 @ Trophy’s (5pm)

David and Ross just arrived so we’re going to wander around a bit this morning before the music starts. On-tap for today/tonight: The Damnwells, Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer, Duquette Johnston.

SXSW bound

Sitting in the Columbus airport, flight to Chicago leaves in 30 minutes then on to Austin for the start of the SXSW 2009 Music Festival. Stay tuned to both this site and throughout the week for updates, photos, interviews, videos, pictures of food we’ve eaten, etc.

SXSW preview: Rumspringa

RUMSPRINGA // “Minds Awake” from Cantora Records on Vimeo.

I’m no stranger to Joey Stevens’ music, I used to work with his cousin Arlene and she was always happily passing along burned CD-Rs full of his stuff to me. Not really easy to describe what he was doing then (or is doing now with Rumspringa) but it’s sort of a mix of roots rock and freak folk with maybe some hip-hop tossed in. The band’s debut self-titled EP can be purchased physically through Amazon or digitally through iTunes and eMusic (among many others).

DOWNLOAD: “Goldmine”

You’re not playing an official SXSW showcase this year. Did you apply to play?

We did not apply; we were very, very busy planning Europe and the new (full length) record. It actually passed over our heads but we knew we still had to play so we called some people and made it happen, we are playing 4 parties/events.

How did the two of you meet? Have you been working together for a while? Joey’s cousin and I used to work together and she gave me a few CD-Rs of Joey’s stuff over the years. Does Itaru play on the CD-R she gave me that I think is called “Shake ’em Down”?

We met the first day of high school at a vending machine. Joey started writing his own songs early in high school but pretty much every song in Rumspringa started when we started playing together. The EP is self-titled and yes Itaru did play on that CD.

You’re getting some press now because Shia Labeouf directed your first video. How did that come about? Has the attention led to anything – requests for interviews? Shows? Label interest?

Yes, making that video was very fun. It’s funny what a short little road trip led to. To answer your question, Itaru grew up with Shia. They met in pre-school in fact and, yes, it has led to some decent press, a couple show offerings, and many, many new fans…mostly Shia fans, ha ha ha.

What are the plans for 2009? Seems like you’re going to be touring a lot and because there is just two of you, I assume it’s easier and cheaper to travel that way.

Yes, lots in the works. We are about to record the full length and tour Europe and the West Coast. It’s really exciting. The U.K. is a dream for us and it’s happening so early in our careers. It is easy to travel with only two people and a pickup truck. We get along great and we tend to celebrate our birthdays on the road since its the 3rd year now – Joey’s b-day is on the 19th and Itaru’s is on the 20th of March.

SXSW appearances:
Thursday, March 19th – Little Radio Party [Red Eyed Fly – 3:50pm]
Thursday, March 19th – HiLo Family Show [301 W.6th St. – 10pm]
Saturday, March 21st – The Deli Mag party [Venue/Time unknown – leave a comment if you have any info about this party]